73 Bus, Stops 1 and 2

2014.Jul.25 Friday · 0 comments

in Restaurants

A couple of day stay in the southeast part of Lima, Peru, called Barranco. I’ve been here before – the first time as part of a tour and then dinner, with Henry and the second time, though I stayed here for a night, I ended up not eating here simply because of logistics. I’m back at the same hotel for two nights, then moving to the same other hotel for two. As I said back in that post, it’s a story in and of itself. This time, though, I had a full day to spend out wandering, plus two dinners and two lunches (well, more than two, but that’s because I willed myself to double down on trying places). First, a little photo tour of my wanders….

Second, we’ll start with the dinners. I ate at the same place twice. First off, it was the place I had planned to eat that last time I was here until circumstances interfered, and it’s a place that’s been “on my list”. Second, it was so good the first night I was here I had to go back and try more food the second night. The interesting thing, it’s not one of those fancy places with elaborate plating and weird ingredients – it’s straightforward, honest cooking, presented nicely, with great flavor combinations – pretty much the food I like to both eat and cook most of the time. It’s the kind of place I’d open if we were going to open a regular restaurant.

The place, La 73 (named for the bus line that passes along the avenue), Av. El Sol Oeste 175, just a short four block walk from Casa Fanning, at Juan Fanning 211, where I’m staying (which for a select group of friends will give a clue to why I’m here). A friend of mine who’s been here referred to it as “Peruvian bistro” decor. To some extent, yes – certainly the tables and such are bistro style, though the room strikes me a bit too clinical – there’s a lot of gleaming white tile and chrome, it almost looks like it used to be some sort of dairy or butcher shop. The waiters are young, eager, perhaps a bit too chatty at times – on one of the two nights my waiter simply wouldn’t go away, and kept suggesting things to try and describing them at length, even though I’d already made my choices. The menu is a decent length, with a nice selection of what I’d call Peruvian-Mediterranean fusion dishes, so right up my alley. There are also some Asian touches here and there. There’s also a chalkboard of “seasonal specials” to complement the core menu, which I gather rarely, if ever, changes.

La 73 - chilcano de rocoto

Chilcano de rocoto – a chilcano is a classic Peruvian drink of pisco and ginger ale, sometimes but not always, flavored with other things – in this case, candied rocoto chilies and a hint of rosemary. Fantastic! I also tried one with passionfruit and ají panka, but I thought the balance was off on it and it had a touch of bitterness that didn’t work for me.

La 73 - langostinos furay

Langostinos furay – simple, fried prawns, perfectly done, with a little spicy caramel drizzle on the plate. I realized that I see the term “furay” or “furai” all the time with dishes like this – it wasn’t until doing a little online research that I got the term – it’s the Japanese pronunciation of “fried”.

La 73 - char grilled octopus

Char grilled octopus, crushed potatoes, herbs, leaves, simple but delicious gravy. Yum.

La 73 - tuna tartare

Tuna tartare, dressed in a little sesame oil, salt and herbs; avocado cream; sesame infused crisps (I think of nori seaweed that’s lightly battered).

La 73 - Paiche al carbon

Paiche al carbón – grilled paiche, the monster fish of the Amazon – remember our visit to the paiche farm? Or the Belén market? Served over a buttery cauliflower puree and topped with a brunoise of carrots and some baby spinach lightly dressed in oil.

La 73 - lomo quinoto

Lomo quinoto – this one took a little conversation because my waiter couldn’t explain it. See, a quinoto is a fruit, a kumquat, so I’m looking at the dish and thinking, hmmm… seared sirloin with kumquats, plus candied quince, and blue cheese – that’s a lot of sweet fruit for a steak, even countered by the queso. Apparently he simply didn’t know what a risotto was, and the intent here in the menu name was to play on that, but made with quinua, so he just kept saying “quinoto is a fruit but there aren’t any on the dish”. I finally agreed to try it, just to get him to go away, and it wasn’t until the plate arrived that I got the play on the term. Maybe it was the chilcanos that I was imbibing. Delicious dish – perfectly seasoned and grilled sirloin, creamy quinua finished with tangy blue cheese, and just a few scattered bits of confited quince to offset the richness. I would have liked something green or slightly acidic on the plate for a touch more balance, but I’m stealing this idea.

La 73 - churro

The place gets raves for its churros, but every time I saw a plate go by it was stacked with six of them. There was no way. Waiter, the less chatty one on the first night, said, no problem, you can order a half order of three, or even just a single one, we make them to order. One it was. Perfect, perfect, perfect churro. Great chocolate sauce. I don’t know what the fruit was on the side – it was a little too candied to tell.

La 73 - picarones

Second night, thought I’d see if they’d do the same with the picarones, sweet potato doughnut fritters sort of things. But no, they won’t make less than a whole order of three. Why not? They’re still made to order. Drizzled with a szechuan peppercorn infused honey. Really good. Not as good as the churro.

This is a must try place in Lima if you’re tired of all the fancy nikkei fusion spots and just want creative, really good food. More on the rest of Barranco eats in the next post.



Half a Big Apple and on to “The Grey”

2014.Jul.24 Thursday

Coming to you now from the sunny beaches… hmmm, no, that’s not quite right… the overca… no… the cloud laden, drizzly urban sprawl of Lima, Peru, living up to its secondary nickname, Le Gris, or The Grey. Here for a few days before heading home. Henry’s off to Trujillo to spend a couple of more […]

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Half a New York Roundup

2014.Jul.22 Tuesday

After my last post and a truly great meal at Yerba Buena, I was looking forward to sharing all our great food adventures in the city, as I generally do on trips to the big apple. Now, I knew that the choice of places might be a little more downscale for the most part this […]

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The Good Herb

2014.Jul.20 Sunday

I’m going to jump on to NYC. It’s not that we didn’t eat anything else in WDC, just nothing to write home about, so to speak. We had an interesting lunch at Mitisam, the, well, cafeteria in the National Museum of the American Indian, with tasty combinations of native ingredients from around the country prepared […]

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Tapas On 14th

2014.Jul.18 Friday

I’m sure there’s a reason behind the name of Richard Sandoval’s Masa 14, 1825 14th Street NW, but I have no idea what it is. I remember him from the start of his soaring career trajectory when he opened to contemporary French restaurants in NYC, Savann and Savann Est, and recall liking whichever of the […]

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Argentú or Pertinian?

2014.Jul.16 Wednesday

I’m going to switch over to mostly food stuff probably for the rest of the trip in the States – over the years I’ve posted enough photos from New York, and we didn’t really see anything in Washington that you haven’t seen a zillion photos of before. Our first night in WDC we met up […]

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Country Roads

2014.Jul.12 Saturday

Enroute from Louisville to Washington DC – I was trying to both divide the long trip, about 9 hours, into two parts, and also give us a day of down time to just enjoy some of the natural beauty in the stretch of country between the two. It’s a part of the U.S. I’ve not […]

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A Dip in KY

2014.Jul.10 Thursday

Our trip continued with a long drive from north of Chicago to just north of Louisville and my parents’ home, where Henry and I stayed for a couple of days. Mostly it was just visiting with them, a lunch with a couple of old friends, and a little bit of touring around, but not too […]

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And All That Jazz

2014.Jul.06 Sunday

We’ve been on to three days in Chicago – the botanic gardens, fireworks, and the architecture boat tour, and of course visiting with family were the highlights. Some of you probably have seen posts and tweets and such about Anthony Bourdain’s recent criticism of folk who take photos of their food and share them on […]

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